What are the Signs of Adrenocortical Disease in Ferrets?
Adrenal disease, one of the most prevalent ferret diseases, can negatively impact your ferret’s health and quality of life — and can even be fatal. Fortunately, the disease is also treatable. As a ferret owner, be alert for these signs of adrenocortical disease (ACD) and take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you detect any of them.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is the most common clinical sign of ACD. Typically, hair loss starts at the tip of the tail, the top of the hind feet, or the shoulder blades. However, hair loss anywhere on the body can be a sign of ACD. (Please note that hair regrowth is not a sign that your ferret is ACD-free. Let your veterinarian determine the cause of your ferret’s hair loss.)
In about half of female ferrets with ACD, high estrogen levels cause the vulva to swell. The severity of swelling and whether it happens gradually or suddenly varies from case to case. Sometimes, vaginal discharge or infection is present. Extremely high estrogen levels can be life-threatening, so take your ferret to the veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these signs.
Unusual sexual aggressiveness
A sterilized male ferret may suddenly start behaving as if he hasn’t been neutered. He may mount other ferrets (or inanimate objects), mark his territory, and be overly aggressive with other ferrets. Spayed females may also exhibit sexual behavior similar to what intact female ferrets do during breeding season.
In male ferrets, high androgen levels can enlarge the prostate gland and cause urinary straining or a persistent bladder or prostate infection. The foreskin of the penis may be red or inflamed as a result. Since straining is due to a partial or complete urinary tract blockage, it is very painful and can be life-threatening. At the first sign of changes in your ferret’s urination pattern, schedule him for a veterinary exam.
Low energy (lethargy)
Your ferret may seem drowsy or listless, with little energy or interest in usual activities. The lethargy varies in severity, and usually happens so gradually that you may not notice or may attribute it to old age. But don’t take any changes in behavior lightly — check with your veterinarian if your ferret acts differently.
Muscle wasting or loss can be hard to recognize, but usually occurs in the pelvic or chest muscles in ACD. Although muscle atrophy usually is mild to moderate, it can become severe. Check with your veterinarian to determine the reason for muscle loss.
ACD can cause dry, flaky skin along with hair loss. This symptom is not as common as other signs of ACD, but take note if your ferret seems to scratch or groom itself more than usual.
SUPRELORIN® F (deslorelin acetate) Implant for ferret ACD
Ferrets with ACD can be treated with surgery or medication, depending on the age of the ferret, surgical risk, or presence of other disease. Of the medical treatments for the management of ACD, only SUPRELORIN F Implant is specifically indicated for use in ferrets. The subcutaneous, time-release implant can manage clinical signs of ACD for 12 months with a single implant. To find out more about SUPRELORIN F Implant, visit virbacferretsusa.com.
Refer to the package insert for complete product information.
Important safety information
For use in ferrets only. Do not use in animals intended for breeding. The safe use of this product has not been evaluated in pregnant or lactating ferrets. Do not use this product in ferrets with known hypersensitivity to deslorelin acetate or other synthetic hormones. Treated ferrets may exhibit signs of soreness and swelling at the implantation site, which should resolve over one or two weeks. Other reported side effects include: weight gain, lethargy and failure to respond to therapy. DO NOT HANDLE THIS PRODUCT IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR NURSING OR SUSPECT YOU MAY BE PREGNANT. Accidental administration may lead to a disruption of the menstrual cycle.
To report suspected adverse drug events, please call Virbac at 1-855-647-3747.
NOT APPROVED BY FDA—Legally marketed as an FDA Indexed Product. Extra-label use is prohibited. This product must not be used in animals intended for use as food for humans or other animals.
©2014 Virbac Corporation. All Rights Reserved. SUPRELORIN is a registered trademark of Peptech Animal Health Pty. Ltd.